People Around You

Maybe it’s because I’ve been happy with the company of my best friend, Ann, who is now here in London. I love having her around! Maybe it’s because Valentine’s Day has just passed, and even though we do not celebrate it, I have been reflective about my husband and child. Just grateful for how we are and what we have. Maybe it’s because Chinese New Year is now over, and so are our planned hosting or celebrations in the house. I’m feeling zen and much more relaxed about life in general here in London.

I don’t know if if my de-cluttering goals have helped with that. For I have also taken steps to add elements of ‘spark joy’ in my relationships.


Pix by Ann. A lovely day out chatting with your sister from another mother is just the best.

I told Ann about some steps I had taken this year about who I had been hanging out with too, or allowing into my space and frame of mind.

It is a little tricky in London, for it is not my ‘hood’ yet, even though I have been living here on and off for 10 years now. In Malaysia, I must admit I am flush with choices. So many wonderful people I love are there, and there are so many interesting people I can meet or do projects with. I’m not saying there are no such people in London – obviously there are! – but I do not have the same roots or networks yet. And these past few years have been a bit mad for me – new country, new career, new home, new baby. It’s not going to get any less mad. I wish I could drink my brains out  I knew I needed to find other ways to keep sane and happy, so I am doing things this year to keep everything together.

On the relationships and friendships side of things, these are some things that have happened:

  • Not only removed crap and added things that ‘sparked joy’ in my house. This needed to apply to who I hung out with or allowed in my ear/head. After learning about a friend who was ever ready to gossip about me (dude, are we still in college?), I came to the conclusion that I just needed to change the nature of the relationship – bam, you are now an acquaintance. No drama needed. But one needs to actually remove them from your ear or head – it makes no sense if you are hearing from them every day (whether online, on feeds, in chat groups), when you wouldn’t want to actually spend time with them on a daily basis anyway. That just sparks yuck. Their feeds make you feel gross or negative? You want to curse or barf when they say certain things?  Unfollow the feeds. Remove yourself. Un-attach. It’s early days but it’s been so important and good for me.


  • They say ‘You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.’ While I may not necessarily agree with that to a T, I agree with the concept. Obviously I am so far away from my most loved. But I still try to make sure they are in my life as much as possible – I chat with them, write to them, think about them. I want to make more effort with people I really love, respect or am curious about. I am also taking steps to get more involved within my immediate community, and do things I used to do in Malaysia. It will take time and effort, but these are quality ways to spend my time.


  • I think I have rebooted some anxiety re my feelings about feelings. Haha. Don’t worry about feeling uncool or affected about relationships and friendships. Over the past few years I have realised the coolest, most macho, most zen people have more than their fair share of issues to do with relationships. You think boys and men don’t have these dramas or issues – I can assure you that is absolutely wrong, they just deal with it a bit differently. The coolest cats also have issues, sometimes relationship drama you wouldn’t even be able to imagine. I’ve seen that a lot of dysfunction comes from people who have trouble expressing or speaking about issues, and a lot more people get hurt along the way sometimes. This year I have decided I will write about it all, because I think I have finally accepted that this is who I am. What can I say? I am an overthinking and over-feeling little shit. And I shall embrace this insanity – bring it!



When you don’t buy crap, you can treat your friends to a real special birthday lunch at Duck & Waffle! 


  • I have said sorry or tried to make amends with friends where an apology or discussion is necessary. I think all of us have that – a past encounter or issue you have felt bad or uncomfortable about in hindsight. I have done that when I was younger, but it takes a certain strength to do it now the older you get. Perhaps the ego or comfort zone (‘just leave it’) gets in the way some times. I do it when I sincerely feel I was being an ass, and I really want the person to hear my apology. Whether the person forgives me or not is totally not up to me, and they have every right to feel the way they do. That’s not up to me.


Well that’s mostly it. So yes, I have decluttered my home, and I have kind of ‘decluttered’ some relationships. I suppose it is apparent in the word ‘clutter’ – it is a mess, you don’t know what is there, really. You feel torn about things and you know you could be happier. It can feel so fucked up.

So now I feel better. Will it stay this way? Who knows?



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